The buc­ca­neer who avoided vi­o­lence

Daily Mail - - Confidential -

TALL, dark and hand­some, the pi­rate cap­tain Sa­muel ‘Black Sam’ Bel­lamy pre­ferred charm and per­sua­sion over vi­o­lence.

The self-styled ‘Robin Hood of the seas’ – thought to be the most suc­cess­ful pi­rate in recorded his­tory – cut a dash­ing fig­ure in his long deep-cuffed vel­vet coat, knee breeches, silk stock­ings and sil­ver-buck­led shoes.

Although his ship was heav­ily armed, his vic­tims were of­ten beguiled by his po­lite, charm­ing man­ner be­fore yield­ing their trea­sures.

His strat­egy was to use two ships: a larger, armed ves­sel to in­tim­i­date and a smaller boat that would be used to block and cap­ture tar­gets. Vic­tims’ ships were rarely dam­aged.

With his im­pos­ing pres­ence and long black hair tied back in a pony­tail with a black satin bow, he was pop­u­lar with women and those who met him noted that he was in­cred­i­bly po­lite and tidy.

Bel­lamy was born in Fe­bru­ary 1689 in the ham­let of Hit­tisleigh, Devon. Lit­tle is known about his life in Eng­land, although he fought in sev­eral bat­tles for the Royal Navy dur­ing his teenage years.

In 1715, he left his wife and child in Eng­land to start a new life at sea, ul­ti­mately sail­ing to the coast of Flor­ida in search of sunken Span­ish trea­sure. On the way, he stopped at Cape Cod, Mas­sachusetts, where he fell in love with lo­cal beauty Maria Hal­lett but chose not to set­tle.

In Fe­bru­ary 1717, he cap­tured English slave ship the Why­dah Gally on its way to Ja­maica stuffed with trea­sure. It was this ves­sel that sank in April that year, claim­ing Bel­lamy’s life and those of all but eight of the 148-man crew.

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